STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

4/24/2000 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern time (5 shows)


Star Gazer is also available from

NASA CORE

A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00

plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard,

check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address

below:

 

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.org

http://core.nasa.gov

 

Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


STAR GAZER

Episode # 00-18

1169th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 5/1/2000 through

Sunday 5/7/2000

"How To Use The Moon To Find

The Lion,The Virgin and The Scorpion"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and you know every once in a while I like to show you how to use the moon to find other sky objects because it's almost like having somebody outside with you pointing out the various stars and constellations. And since the moon changes its position against the background of stars 15 degrees every 24 hours, that's 30 times its own width, we can use it as a finder to locate several different objects in just a few night's time. And next week we'll be able to use it to find Leo the Lion, Virgo the Virgin and Scorpius the Scorpion. Let me show you:

O.K., we've got our skies set up for next Wednesday may 10th between 8 and 10 p.m. where close by a first quarter moon you will see the brilliant blue hot star Regulus which marks the heart of Leo the Lion, a star 5 times as wide as our million mile wide sun and which shines an incredible 160 times brighter. And if you use your imagination the front part of Leo looks like a backward question mark or sickle with Regulus as the exclamatory point. And the hindquarters are simply a right triangle. Easy to visualize, easy to find. Then if you follow the moon for the next few nights it will slowly move from Leo to Virgo the Virgin, Thursday May 11th, Friday May 12th, Saturday May 13th, and Ta Da! Sunday May 14th the moon will be just off to the side of the brightest star of Virgo which is an even bigger blue hot star than Regulus. Indeed it is over 8 times as wide as our sun and 2,300 times brighter. On Monday May 15th the moon will be on the other side of Spica and on its way to the Scorpion.

But to find the Scorpion when when the moon visits it go out between 11 and midnight when the scorpion has risen just a bit higher and face southeast. Now on Tuesday the 16th the moon will be half way between Virgo and the Scorpion and on Wednesday May 17th it is approaching it. And then Ta Da! on Thursday May 18th a brilliant full moon will hover right above Antares, the star marking the heart of the Scorpion, a star so huge it dwarfs both Regulus and Spica. Indeed, it is a mind boggling 600 times as wide as our sun.

Once again: Wednesday the 10th, The moon is near Regulus. Sunday the 14th the moon is above Spica. And Thursday the 18th it hovers above Antares. So get thee out and use the moon to find 3 fabulous constellations and 3 wonderful stars, 5 million mile wide Regulus, 8 million mile wide Spica and 600 million mile wide Antares. Wow! Who needs any better reason to Keep Looking Up?

 

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-18 M

5/1/2000 thru 5/7/2000

"How To Use The Moon

To Find Three Wonderful Stars"

 

Horkheimer: You know every once in a while you can use the moon to find other sky objects and next week the moon will pass close to 3 wonderful stars. On Wednesday May 10th the moon will be close to Regulus, the brightest star of Leo the Lion which is 5 times as wide as our million mile wide sun. Then on Sunday the 14th the moon will be close to Spica, the brightest star of Virgo which is 8 times as wide as our sun. But the real goodie is Thursday May 11th when the full moon will hover just above Antares, the heart of the Scorpion which is a mind boggling 600 times as wide as our Sun. So next week use the moon to find 3 stars which make our sun seem puny by comparison. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

 


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.

Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer








STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION



STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

4/24/2000 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern Time (5 shows)


 

Star Gazer is also available from

NASA CORE

A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00

plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard,

check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address

below:

 

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.org

http://core.nasa.gov





Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


 

STAR GAZER

Episode #00-19


1170th Show

To Be Aired : Monday 5/08/2000 through Sunday 5/14/2000

"How To Measure Distances In The Sky

Using Just Your Fingers and The Big Dipper"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers, and how often have you heard me use the word 'degree' when talking about how far away one planet or star is from another? Better yet, how many of you know how to visualize just how big one degree or 5 degrees or 10 degrees really is? Well , if you can't remember or even never knew, I guarantee that by the end of this episode you'll know how to measure your way around the night sky using just the fingers on your hand and the Big Dipper and you'll never forget what 1 degree, 5 degrees or 10 degrees is again. Let me show you:

O.K., the fundamental thing to remember is that the entire system of measuring sky distances is based on the circle. We always divide circles into 360 sections, or degrees. So since we only ever see half the sky at a time, or half a circle, the distance from 1 horizon to directly overhead, the zenith, and back down to the opposite horizon is 180 degrees which also means that the distance from any point on the horizon to directly overhead, the zenith, is 90 degrees which further means that the distance from a clear flat horizon to half way up to the zenith will be half of 90 degrees, or 45 degrees and so on.

Simple, but the really tough part for most people is measuring a small number of degrees such as 1,2, 5 or 10 et cetera unless you know a couple of tricks, one of which is to use the Big Dipper. Let me show you: O.K., we're facing due north, early evening any May night where directly above the North Star you'll find the Big Dipper ... 4 stars mark its cup, 3 stars mark its handle. Now if we just think of the Big Dipper in terms of 5's, simply remember that the distance between the 2 stars in the end of the cup is 5 degrees and that the distance between the 2 stars across the top of the cup is 10 degrees. The distance between the cup's end star and the first star in the handle is 15 degrees, the distance between the same cup star and the second handle in the handle is 20 degrees; and the distance between that same cup star and the last star in the handle is 25 degrees. What could be simpler? Simply memorize the distance between the various stars of the dipper and you'll be able to use these distances to compare the distance between other stars and planets. Just remember 5, 10, 15, 20, 25.

But how about those times of the year when the Big Dipper is too low to see well, or not at all from your latitude? Well, then simply use your hand outstretched at arm's length in front of you because your pinky finger against the sky at arm's length measures 1 degree. 3 fingers measure 5 degrees and your fist at arm's length, 10 degrees, and the distance between your pinky finger and your index finger stretched out measures 15 degrees. And in case you can't remember any of the above, then try to remember that a full moon is exactly 1/2 a degree wide. Yes, believe it or not if we could put 2 full moons side by side your 1 degree wide pinky finger would just cover both. So out under the stars with you and use your fingers, the Big Dipper or the moon to measure your way across the cosmos as you Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-19 M

5/08/2000 thru 5/14/2000

"How To Measure Distances In The Sky"

 

Horkheimer: Astronomers measure distance between celestial objects in degrees, but do you know how big 1 degree is? Well the full moon is 1/2 a degree wide so 1 degree is 2 full moons wide. But there's a wonderful trick you can use in case the moon's not out. Simply use your hand outstretched at arm's length and your pinky finger will measure 1 degree against the sky, 3 fingers measure 5 degrees and your fist 10 degrees. The distance between your pinky finger and your index finger stretched out is 15 degrees. So if you ever want to check out how high the sun or moon is above the horizon, just stretch out your arm and let your fingers do the measuring. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

 




 
* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.

This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.


Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer






STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION




STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

4/24/2000 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern Time (5 shows)


Star Gazer is also available from

NASA CORE

A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00

plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard,

check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address

below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.org

http://core.nasa.gov




Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.



STAR GAZER

Episode # 00-20


1171st Show


To Be Aired : Monday 5/15/2000 through Sunday 5/21/2000

"Regulus and Denebola,

The Heart and Tail of Leo The Lion"
 

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow stargazers and since our skies are completely bare of planets this week and most of next, let's take a look at 2 wonderful stars. They're the 2 brightest stars of spring's most prominent constellation, Leo the Lion. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up for any night the next couple of weeks about an hour after sunset, facing west where approximately half way up from the horizon to the zenith you will see the stars which make up the celestial king of the beasts, Leo the Lion. He's always pictured in a reclining position and right now he is headed face down straight for the horizon, his head mane and forefront represented by a backward question mark or sickle-shaped group of stars; Leo's brightest star, Regulus which means 'Little King', marking his heart. Then higher in the sky and forming a perfect right triangle, 3 stars make up Leo's hind section and it is here that we find Leo's second brightest star Denebola which literally means the lion's tail. And it is these 2 brightest stars of Leo, Regulus and Denebola which we're going to look at more closely.

Let's start with Denebola which may sound a little familiar to you regular star gazers because another bright star in the sky is called Deneb and means the 'Tail of the Swan'. In fact, 'Deneb' means Tail, 'Ola' means Lion, so Denebola literally means 'Tail of the Lion' and it's one tail star any lion would be proud to wag because Denebola is intrinsically almost as impressive as the brightest star in the sky, Sirius the Dog Star. In fact, if we could move Denebola as close to our Earth as Sirius is, only 8 1/2 light years away, Denebola would rival Sirius in brightness. The reason it appears less impressive is because it is 5 times farther away than Sirius, 43 light years away. And compared to our million mile wide sun, Denebola beats it hands, or tails, down because Denebola is almost twice as wide as our sun and shines 20 times brighter!

But as impressive as Denebola is, Regulus blows it away. You see, even though Regulus is exactly twice as far away from us as Denebola, 85 light years away, it still appears much brighter than Denebola and that's because Regulus is 5 times the diameter of our sun and shines 160 times brighter. Wow! Impressive indeed for the heart of the king of the beasts. So sometime during the next few weeks before this wonderful spring constellation is replaced by the constellations of summer, go outside about an hour after sunset, look west about half way up the sky and you'll see this incredible constellation which is not only mentioned in the bible, but was also highly revered by the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians who even then considered this celestial lion a symbol of royalty. But even then the ancient pharaohs and kings of Babylon couldn't suspect the true wonder and magnificence of the heart and tail of this king of the beasts but we know and that makes it even more wonderful to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-20 M

5/15/2000 thru 5/21/2000

"The Heart and Tail of Leo The Lion"

 

Horkheimer: Look high up in the west about an hour after sunset and you'll see the most prominent star pattern of spring, Leo the Lion. A backward question mark marks his front, a right triangle marks his rear and he sports 2 wonderful stars. His tail star, Denebola, is almost twice as wide as our million mile wide sun and shines 20 times brighter. But his heart star, Regulus, which means 'little king', is 5 times as wide as our sun and 160 times brighter. Impressive indeed for this celestial king of the beasts which was considered a symbol of royalty by the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

 


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only.

Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer






STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION




STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

4/24/2000 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern Time (5 shows)


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE

A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00

plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard,

check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address

below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.org

http://core.nasa.gov




Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


 

 

STAR GAZER

Episode #00-21


1172nd Show



To Be Aired : Monday 5/22/2000 through Sunday 5/28/2000

"There Are Only Two Really Good Times

This Year To See Mercury and

Next Week Is One Of Them"

Horkheimer:Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and yes indeed, there are only 2 really good times this year to see the tiny elusive first planet out from the sun, Mercury, and next week is one of them. Let me show you: O.K., we've got our skies set up facing west/northwest about half an hour after sunset next week, Saturday night, June 3rd and if you have a clear, flat, unobstructed horizon you will see a beautiful crescent moon and just a mere 3 degrees above it a bright pinkish looking starlike object which is tiny 3 thousand mile wide Mercury. but don't let that pink color fool you because Mercury really isn't pink at all. It only looks pink because it never gets very high above the horizon thus we always see it through the thick , dusty and dirty lower layers of atmosphere that hug the horizon.

So Mercury gets colored by our atmosphere the same way the moon does when it's close to the horizon and with Mercury that color is usually pink., which is rather inappropriate for a planet which we now know is made almost entirely of iron. In fact, I like to call Mercury the pink iron planet. Now after you've spotted Mercury using the moon as a finder on the 3rd, you will notice that during the next few days it will remain roughly the same height above the horizon but after the 10th you'll be astonished to see how rapidly Mercury rushes back toward the horizon so that by the 3rd week of June it will be almost impossible to find because it will become lost in the sun's glare. And then you'll have to wait until the 2nd and 3rd weeks of November to see it really well again when it will appear just before sunrise.

But why does Mercury make such brief appearances, sometimes just after sunset and sometimes just before sunrise? Well, unlike our Earth which is 93 million miles away from the sun, Mercury is only 36 million miles away so from our viewpoint here on Earth, Mercury is usually so close to the Sun that the sun's light over powers it. Only when Mercury is at its farthest points in its orbit east or west of the sun we ever see it really well and that happens only a few times a year with appearances only about 2 weeks long. Now when Mercury is at its farthest distance west of the sun it appears for about an hour or so before sunrise in the morning. Conversely, when Mercury is at its farthest distance east of the sun it's visible for about an hour or so after sunset. And it never gets very high above the horizon. And since Mercury is now approaching its farthest distance east of the sun it will be visible for the next two weeks in the west just after sunset. And if you have a small telescope you can actually watch Mercury go through phases just like our moon, getting skinnier and skinnier as it comes closer and closer toward us.

So get thee outside to see the amazing pink iron planet and think about this: Mercury's iron core is actually larger than our moon and at Earth's current iron production rate it would take 700 billion years to mine all the iron in Mercury which is never gonna happen because Mercury and Earth are only gonna be around for 5 billion years. So happy pink iron planet hunting and whatever you do in the meantime, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-21 M

5/22/2000 thru 5/28/2000

"Next Week Is 1 of the 2 Best Weeks Of The Year

To See Mercury"

 

Horkheimer: There are only 2 really good times this year to see the tiny 3,000 mile wide, closest planet to the sun, Mercury and next week is one of them. Look west/northwest a half hour after sunset. And on Saturday June 3rd Mercury will be joined by an exquisite crescent moon. Mercury looks pink because it never gets very high above the horizon; so we always see it through the dusty lower layers of our atmosphere. I like to call it the pink iron planet because its iron core is even bigger than our moon. In fact, at our current iron production rate it would take 700 billion years to mine all the iron in Mercury. Wow, I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

 


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only
Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer

 


 


STAR GAZER
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION




STAR GAZER is seen nationally on most PBS stations. There is a five minute and a one minute version available each week. If it is not currently on your PBS station we suggest you contact your local PBS programming director and let them know it is available free to all PBS stations. You may take STAR GAZER off satellite for personal use, classroom use, astronomy club use, etc. without written permission.

Satellite feed info:

GE 3 - PBS Transponder 512 - Digital Only!

4/24/2000 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern Time (5 shows)


Star Gazer is also available from NASA CORE

A videotape of the current month is available from NASA CORE for $16.00

plus $6.00 shipping (within the U.S). Please send a VISA, MasterCard,

check, money order or an official school purchase order to the address

below:

NASA Central Operation of Resources for Educators

Lorain County JVS NASA CORE

15181 Route 58 South

Oberlin, OH 44074

440/775-1400

FAX 440/775-1460

nasaco@leeca.org

http://core.nasa.gov




Notice : These are working drafts of the scripts for STAR GAZER.
Changes may well be made as production requires.


 

 

STAR GAZER

Episode #00-22


1173rd Show



To Be Aired : Monday 5/29/2000 through Sunday 6/04/2000

"The Closest Meeting of the

Two Largest Planets For 20 Years!!"

Horkheimer: Greetings, greetings fellow star gazers and this is the week we've been waiting for since the beginning of the year. Indeed, this week and next Jupiter and Saturn will be closer together than they will be for another 20 years. In fact, you won't be seeing them this close together again until Christmas 2020. But before I show you let's do a quick review of what we've been watching for the past several months: O.K., we've got our skies set up for New Year's Night, January 1st, just after sunset facing west where you'd have seen the 3 closest outer planets lines up in a row, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Then as week after week, month after month went by we watched as all 3 of them drew closer and closer together. January 15th, February 1st, February 15th, March 1st, March 15th and then finally during the first week of April Mars finally caught up with Jupiter in an extremely close meeting and then moved on to another close meeting with Saturn the weekend of April 15th.

And by that time it was pretty obvious that while Mars had been slowly moving upward, climbing higher into the evening sky, Jupiter and Saturn were slowly moving downward descending toward the horizon. And in fact, at the end of April both Jupiter and Saturn disappeared from evening skies and remained too close to the sun to be seen for most of May, but now Ta! Da! they are re-emerging on the other side of the sun climbing a little bit higher each successive day just before dawn in morning skies. In fact, on Memorial Day, they were at their closest. And although they're slowly pulling apart from each other they will still be closer to each other for the next two weeks than they will be for 20 years.

So make sure you get out some morning during the next two weeks in pre-dawn twilight to see these two giants huddled side by side close to the eastern horizon. And I'm sure that many of you are very pleased that you've taken the time to go out once every couple of weeks since the beginning of the year to watch this incredible journey of the 2 largest planets. Indeed, this week and next is the climax! But as you look at them now and watch as they slowly start to pull away from each other, keep in mind what these planets are really all about. Jupiter, named for the king of the Roman gods is the largest of all the planets, 88 thousand miles wide which means we could stretch 11 earths up side by side across its middle; while Saturn, named for a god who reigned during Rome's golden age is the second largest, 75 thousand miles wide which means we could line up 9 1/3 earths across its middle and 22 earths from 1 edge of its ring system to the other.

But most especially keep in mind that although they look extremely close together to the naked eye it's only an illusion from our perspective because while this week Jupiter is 550 million miles away from earth, Saturn is almost twice as far away, 940 million miles away. So get thee out and watch this rare meeting of the two largest planets which you won't see again for two decades hence. It's wonderful if you simply remember to Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Star Gazer Minute

#00-22 M

5/29/2000 thru 6/04/2000

"The Closest Meeting of the

Two Largest Planets For 20 Years!"

 

Horkheimer: New Years night just after sunset, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were widely spaced apart and lined up in a row. Then month after month we watched them come closer and closer together. On April 6th Mars had a very close meeting with Jupiter and on April 16th rendezvoused with Saturn. Then Saturn and Jupiter disappeared from evening skies. But they've re-emerged in pre-dawn skies and this week just before sunrise you can see the closest meeting of Jupiter and Saturn for 20 years to come. In fact, they won't be this close again until Christmas of 2020. It's a grand illusion because although they appear side by side this week, in reality Jupiter is 550 million miles away and Saturn is 1 billion miles away. I'm Jack Horkheimer, Keep Looking Up!

For graphics for this script (Click) Here

 


Don't miss the cartoon version of

'STAR GAZER' in each monthly issue of

 

 


* This week's Sky At A Glance and Planet Roundup from Sky & Telescope.
This week's Sky At A Glance displays current week only
Starry Night Deluxe was used to produce this episode of Star Gazer



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